Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review & Blog Tour: Aranya by Marc Secchia

Title: Aranya
Series: Shapshifter Dragons #1
Author: Marc Secchia
Publication Date: June 12, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonizing, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.


My Review

When Aranya is traded to the Sylakians as a condition of her people's surrender to the conquering nation, she believes her fate is set in stone. Little does she know what future lies in wait for her.

Dragon shape shifters. Fierce princesses. Evil Princes. Magic. Fate. Hidden destinies revealed. Epic battles. Pygmies. Romance. Betrayal. All this and so much more can be found within the pages of this sweeping fantasy tale. Once you start, you won't want to stop.

I love all of the characters in this book. I love the way Aranya struggled to learn how to be a dragon after the first time she shifted. I love the fierce and yet fragile Zuziana. I love conflicted Yolathion, struggling between duty and honor and matters of the heart. I love the warrior monk Ri'arion, who starts out as one kind of man, only to reveal many deep layers beneath his stoic exterior. I even love the endlessly beautiful and terrible and fascinating world of islands and mountains and the vaporous cloudlands. I love dragonshifter books and this is one of the best I've read in a long time.

My only complaint is that the story drags a bit in the middle. I think it could have been well served to have certain parts removed to make it a tighter story. But aside from that mid-story slump, Aranya is a novel full of passion and adventure. The battles between dragon and dragonships are particularly breathtaking and told in perfect detail.

This is an excellent book. If you love dragons and dragonshifters as much as I do, and if you want to be swept away on an epic fantasy adventure, then I would highly recommend Aranya.


Marc is a South African-born author who lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he's not writing about Africa Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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